News of An Bord Pleanála N26 planning permission welcomed

Posted in Connect on January 3, 2019.

News of the green light for the long-awaited works on the N26 Swinford to Foxford road have been welcomed.
An Bord Pleanála this week granted planning permission for road alignment works at Cloongullane Bridge, outside Swinford.
Permission has been granted for a realignment of 1.8km of the N26 and a new 83 metre bridge across the River Moy. Mayo County Council anticipate that following further design, land acquirement and a tender process, works will begin the fourth quarter of 2019.
Senator Michelle Mulherin, who earlier in the week criticised the long delay, said it was ‘a great and long-awaited day for north and east Mayo’.
“I have been working to resolve this issue in both the Dáil and Seanad since 2012 and it was my unwavering priority and campaign to deliver a new Cloongullane Bridge, a vital part of the upgrading of the N26, for the future development of North and East Mayo.
“Mammoth work and funding over the years was put in to get to this point. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.
“It is a great and long-awaited day for north and east Mayo. We can now move forward to develop the type and standard of national road we need into the area,” she said.
Earlier in the week Senator Mulherin told the Seanad ‘that people will rise up and march in protest if this isn’t sorted out’ and criticised An Bord Pleanála for delays in the project.
“It will be two years in March since an oral hearing on the building of a new bridge was held. The current bridge is on the national primary network, and is not fit even for the 20th century; it was built in the 19th century.
“It is a hazard and a danger, and is not in keeping with the objectives and standards defined for national primary routes,” she said.
“Two years have almost past. An Bord Pleanála had been issuing queries on account of environmental concerns until last July due to the presence of freshwater pearl mussels and alluvial woodland.
“All of those queries were answered at the end of July and a decision was expected on November 30, which was an indicative date provided by An Bord Pleanála. Since then, the date has been pushed back,” she added.
Meanwhile Ballina-based TD Dara Calleary welcomed the news and said it was important work got underway as soon as possible.
“I am very pleased that An Bord Pleanála has finally granted permission for this long-awaited project to proceed. It is over two years since An Bord Pleanála held an oral hearing into this proposal and I am pleased that we finally have some movement in the correct direction.
“It is paramount now that the Department, Mayo County Council and all other relevant agencies work hand-in-hand to ensure that the construction of the new bridge commences without any further delay,” he said.
Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes described the granting of planning as ‘great news’.
“This is an important stretch of road between Swinford and Ballina and the works will improve access from east Mayo through to the north of the county,” he said.
Last January Mayo County Council Director of Services Tom Gilligan said An Bord Pleanála had written to Mayo County Council requesting further information on the Cloongullane Bridge project in relation to the council’s Natura Impact Statement – the environmental impact assessment needed for such works in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The bridge crosses the River Moy SAC.

Mayo News – 27th December 2018

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